Considerations and Advice
From PEG’s Boards:
I am currently running a Pirates RPG campaign at a local game store.
- It’s important to figure out how much nitty-gritty you want the players to have to worry about in terms of running the ship. Making Navigation rolls for every square you move on the map, plotting how much you need in the way of Provisions, trying to recruit enough crew and then making sure you still have enough room on board for a new player to join in and fit within the Passenger space, dividing up the loot … it all can get to be quite a headache. Exactly what sort of adventure YOU want to run is up to you and your players, but one thing worth considering is how much of the rules you’d be better off just ignoring so you can get on to the stories you want to tell. Your mileage may vary.
- Things run smoother if your crew has an NPC quartermaster responsible for dividing up the loot, and you just tell each player how much he or she gets as a share — and then you can leave it to the players to squabble over who gets the special “relic” in the loot. In multiple campaigns, I have had considerable trouble when I would report the total amount of gold and then leave it to the players to sort out how much ends up on each player’s sheet (or even to decide when it was time to divvy up the loot).
- Be generous with Bennies, especially to reward “swashbuckling” behavior. However, you should also IGNORE the rule in Pirates RPG that says players can convert leftover Bennies into XP. That rule leads to major PC disparities in short order, and caused major problems for my first Pirates RPG campaign.
- If you have a ship-to-ship battle, make sure every player has something to do. Not every player should be required to buy up Boating and Shooting to man the cannons, etc. Someone might be a lookout or a swashbuckling specialist, or the ship’s carpenter, but, boy, it can be boring to play that character in a prolonged naval battle.
As an alternative, you can give that player a “regular crew member” to play, who is temporarily promoted to Wild Card status. Say, he’s one of the cannoneers, and let the player come up with a nickname for him (Deadeye Dave, etc.). In naval battles, the player gets to roll for this guy and participate in the fights.
- It can be very hard to become a decent cannoneer, especially with all the modifiers that apply in naval combat (relative speeds, etc.). I made a house rule that if anyone takes the Cannoneer Edge, in addition to the effects listed, he gets to use his Shooting skill for cannon attacks, regardless of what his Boating skill is. (So, if he only has Boating d4, and buys his Shooting up to d10, that’s perfectly fine: He paid his dues by picking up the Cannoneer Edge.)
- If you pick up the Savage Worlds Deluxe rules, I recommend against using the SWD Chase rules in place of the Chase rules in Pirates RPG. The Pirates RPG chase rules or those in the Savage Worlds Explorer’s Edition are better-suited to the sorts of high-seas chases depicted in Pirates RPG.